What Is An RV Rock Guard?
Motorhome and tow vehicle tires kick up rocks, sand, and gravel from the road surface as we travel. If we are towing a trailer or vehicle behind our RV, the miles of road under our tires can lead to sandblasting and dents on the front of our trailer or towed vehicle.
Rock chips on the windshield of a towed vehicle are common without protection of some kind. This problem is worse when we travel on gravel roads to reach campgrounds, but it also happens when we are cruising down highways. Even if you aren’t towing anything, vehicles behind yours can be hit by debris kicked up by your motorhome.
RV rock guards are supposed to solve this problem by blocking this kicked-up material and stopping it from reaching the area behind your tow vehicle, where it can damage your trailer or toad or vehicles behind you. But do RV rock guards really work? Just as importantly, are they worth the money?
An RV rock guard hangs under the motorhome’s rear bumper and provides a barrier for all the road debris. The rock guard keeps debris from getting kicked up high behind your tow vehicle and damaging anything behind it. RV rock guards can be made of broom-like bristles, split rubber, or solid rubber.
Types of RV rock guards
Brush-Style Rock Guards
The bristles of brush-style rock guards look very much like the bristles of a broom. These bristles will help keep road debris from hitting your trailer or tow vehicle. Because they allow air through and blow backward, brush-style rock guards aren’t 100% effective, as small debris can still pass through.
These rock guards aren’t really meant for any sort of heavy-duty debris blocking performance, but they will slow down the speed and trajectory of the tiny missiles and water launched by the rear tires of your motorhome or other tow vehicle.
Strip-Style RV Rock Guards
Strip-style rock guards look like a solid piece of rubber hanging beneath the rear bumper of the motorhome. Looks are deceiving in this case. These heavy rubber rock guards have slits cut in them, so they actually are more like 4-5 inch rubber ribbons hanging down from the rear of the motorhome.
Strip-style motorhome rock guards are effective at blocking water and all but occassional small debris. They tend to get matted but can be an affordable option if you don’t do much winter RVing.
Solid Rubber Rock Guards
Solid rubber rock guards are a solid, thick piece of rubber that hangs beneath the rear bumper of the RV or tow vehicle. Nothing gets past it. This style of rock guard will keep debris and water under your RV. They are fairly heavy, at around 30 lbs, and require installation of angle iron to hold them in place.
Users of this type of rock guard sometimes complain about it blowing back from the RV as they travel. Bottoming out or dragging on rough roads is another complaint from users of this style of rock guard.
Are RV rock guards worth the money?
When installed properly, RV rock guards can provide an extra level of protection from sand, gravel, and rocks. While a few RVers have complained about their effectiveness, most users seem to agree that a rock guard can save wear and tear on your RV or tow vehicle.
After all, just a single dent, chip, or cracked window on a tow vehicle can cost hundreds to repair. If a $250 RV rock guard can save this expense just once, it has paid for itself.
RVers looking for valuable how-to information have learned to go to the experts. Forums such as iRV2.com and blog sites like RV LIFE, Do It Yourself RV, and Camper Report provide all the information you need to enjoy your RV. You’ll also find brand-specific information on additional forums like Air Forums, Forest River Forums, and Jayco Owners Forum.